Veterans

Amputee Royal Marines Veteran Recounts Abuse While Using Disabled Parking Bay

Ben McBean says a person began "effing and blinding" at him for parking in a disabled space when he arrived for a hospital appointment.

A Royal Marines veteran says a woman who began "effing and blinding" at him for using a disabled car parking space before a hospital appointment represents a wider misconception towards disability.

Ben McBean, a double amputee, suffered injuries in 2008 while in Afghanistan, after an explosion.

As part of his follow-up treatment, he continues to visit hospital for appointments.

Mr McBean previously had a disability badge, which he says was taken away after he took part in the London Marathon.

The veteran posted on Twitter last October to voice his frustration and stated it would be useful to have the badge back, with Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer among those to respond.

Mr McBean says he received his new blue badge recently, meaning he could use it "for the first time in like 13 years".

After receiving his new blue badge, Mr McBean says he was attending an appointment at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth earlier this month when he parked in the disabled bay outside.

"[I was] fully dressed, with a prosthetic arm on as well, you just probably wouldn’t know," he said.

"I got out of the car and some lady was effing and blinding at me, because I'd obviously used this blue badge – for the first time ever."

The veteran added that he will not feel pressure to "highlight" his injuries while using his blue badge in future.

Having lived life with and without disability, Mr McBean said that only in recent years has he seen a shift in perceptions towards such a broad range of disabled individuals.

"Even the parking bay sign is a wheelchair, so if someone jumps out not looking like that, you think 'Hang on a minute, that doesn't make any sense,' when that’s all they would know," he said.

The Royal Marines veteran sustained injuries while serving in Afghanistan 13 years ago (Picture: Ben McBean).

He voiced his concern that others may not be in a position to take similar incidents in their stride.

"That might have hurt you or upset you, set you back, maybe you’re depressed, your anxiety flares up or have a panic attack or something and it's not fair.

"People should not judge a book by its cover," the veteran added.

"I was fighting for my country and I got injured, [it's] nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to hide."

In response to Mr McBean's account of his experiences, a Plymouth City Council spokesman said: "As soon as Mr McBean's case came to our attention, a senior manager made contact with him and offered him assistance in completing a new [blue badge] application."

In a statement, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust said: "University Hospitals Plymouth treats patients with a range of different medical conditions, not all of which are visible.

"Any patient who holds a 'blue badge' is entitled to park in our disabled parking spaces and should be able to do so without fear of abuse."